Master8 took a turn at choosing someone to help through Kiva this month. Miss9 and Miss6 were looking over his shoulders and adding their two cents worth.
“It’s so hard, Dad,” Master8 told me, as he scrolled through the loans needing funding. “They all need our help.”
One of the more rewarding things about the Kiva experience has been opening the door on conversations about empathy and places in the world where the people aren’t as fortunate as we are. Every month one of our kids picks out someone to help and we discuss how lucky we are and how every small act of kindness, like lending them money to increase their herds or fertilize their crops, build a stable or repair a car.
Best of all, from a budget point of view, the US$25 is being funded on repayments from previous loans (as the repayments come back in you can relend the money out or withdraw it), so all it’s cost us the month is our time and our willingness to make a difference.
This is all part of why we give Kiva a plug once a month on Big Family, Little Income.
Here’s what Kiva has to say about itself:
“We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.”
Basically, a group of people put up the money for any one loan. We’ve made US$2725 of loans over the years from our Kiva account of $284 by relending the same money out every month.
As often happens, Master8 knew the loan he wanted to make the moment he came across it. He chose Michael from Ukraine to be the recipient of our US$25. The average annual income in that country is US$8000 and Michael was after US$750 to help him improve the living conditions of his family. Here’s what Michael’s application had to say:
“Michael is married. He works as a head of security of the railway. Michael is young and responsible. Right now he lives at home with his wife and parents. They are expecting a new member in the family in six months.
Michael is asking to provide him with a loan in the amount of 6,000 hryvnas to repair a room. At this time the room in his apartment is not suitable for living. He wants to put sheet rock on the ceiling, to plaster and to paint it. The loan will help him to improve the living conditions for his family.”
“We need to help Michael,” said Master8.
“Why’s that, mate?” I asked him. I’m always interested to hear what has struck a note. Sometimes it’s nothing more than a name (Miss6 likes to lend to people with a name she recognizes), sometimes there are tears (like when Tracey reads about a widow and her children).
But I’ve read the application over his shoulder and I know why Master8 has chosen Michael even before he tells me.
“Because family is important,” he says.
How very true. How very wonderful. How very Master8.
If you’d like to have a look at Kiva to see what it’s all about, they have a system whereby someone puts up the money for your first loan so you can trial the process without putting your hand in your pocket. You really do have nothing to lose 🙂 THIS IS A LINK TO KIVA
This is not a sponsored post, Kiva is just an organisation we feel good about supporting and promoting.
When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’ Facebook Page.
’raising a family on little more than laughs’
Hi Bruce and co.
Just wanted to say you inspired me today so I’ve given a loan to Kiva and bought a donation card for my brother’s upcoming birthday. Thanks for shining a light.
Hi Leah. Fantastic. I hope you get as much from the experience as we all do 🙂 It’s such a little thing this end, but I don’t think the difference it makes at the other end can be overstated.
I have told my Fiance that we are setting up a Kiva account when our little man is 3, as part of his birthday present. I like the idea of visible charity, something that he will grow into understanding.
When I was little, my parents used to get my sister and I to go through our toys and give away the ones we hadn’t played with for a while to the local orphanage.
It’s a great way to open the door on all sorts of conversations with kids 🙂 your parents sound like good folk